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Social Policy

The Social Policy program, led by the Social Development Department (SDV), builds on the institutional space created by the World Bank’s Social Development Strategy, approved in February 2005 and recent World Development Reports (WDRs) , including the most recent report on Equity and Development (2006).   The Social Policy work program will focus on making policies and programs in developing and transitioning economies more equitable and sustainable.   The roots of the Social Policy program lie in the commitments made in Copenhagen in 1995, at the World Summit on Social Development (WSSD). While there has been notable progress on some of these global commitments, others have lagged behind, given inadequate opportunities for economic and social mobility, ineffective and unaccountable institutions, and widespread social tensions and conflict.  Traditional social policy prescriptions have not proved sufficient to achieve a cohesive, socially just and prosperous society in many developing countries. The Social Policy work program seeks to generate fresh thinking, and draw on innovative research to broaden and redefine the scope of social policy and its applications in the South.

The Social Policy work program includes:

  • Production of a book series on “New Frontiers of Social Policy” presenting cutting edge research and issues in social policy praxis. The book series was inspired by the international conference, ‘New Frontiers of Social Policy: Development in a Globalizing World’, organized in collaboration with DfID, Sida, as well as the Governments of Norway and Finland on December 12-15, 2005 in Arusha, Tanzania.

  • A collaborative research project on Rights, Entitlements, and Social Policy with the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and the UK Department for International Development.

  • A fortnightly Social Science and Policy Seminar Series is being organized by SDV jointly with the Development Research Group (DECRG).  The seminar series will feature high quality, scholarly research in the social sciences, comprising critical, empirically engaged research in anthropology, sociology, philosophy and political science that has implications for development thought and policy.


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